August 06, 2014

Indiana Names First Female Supreme Court Chief Justice

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush has been chosen to lead the court as the state's first female chief justice.

The Judicial Nominating Commission on Wednesday chose Rush to succeed Justice Brent Dickson as the high court's leader over fellow justices Mark Massa, Steven David and Robert Rucker.

Dickson announced in June that he would step down as chief justice but remain an associate justice.

Dickson succeeded Randall Shepard as chief justice in 2012. He faces mandatory retirement when he turns 75 in 2016.
Rush is a former Tippecanoe County judge and was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012. She is the first woman to serve on the state Supreme Court since Myra Selby stepped down in 1999 after five years on the bench.

July 30, 2014

Indiana State Fair Serving Liquor For First Time In Nearly 70 Years

Strict limits will be in place when the Indiana State Fair sells alcoholic drinks for the first since 1946 when its 17-day run begins Friday.

The fair says customers will be limited to three beers or three glasses of wine apiece.

They also can sample products as long as they don't have more than 36 ounces of beer or 15 ounces of wine.
Spokesman Andy Klotz says the fair wants some controls in place so people are limited in their drinking while they're at the fairgrounds on Indianapolis' north side.
The drinks will be served at the Grand Hall across the street from the Coliseum. People must be at least 21 to enter and the drinks must stay inside.

The featured Indiana breweries and wineries will change daily.

July 28, 2014

Mother: Doctor With Ebola Sought To Be Missionary

An Indianapolis woman whose son contracted Ebola while working in Liberia says family members are praying for his recovery.

Dr. Kent Brantly is the medical director for the Ebola care center of the aid group Samaritan's Purse in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

Samaritan's Purse Vice President Ken Isaacs says Brantly is in stable and very serious condition.
His mother, Jan Brantly, says he had wanted to be a medical missionary from an early age. She says the Indianapolis Heritage Christian High School graduate began going on mission trips while young and has also worked in Uganda and Tanzania.
An Indiana University School of Medicine spokeswoman says Brantly graduated from there in 2009. She says Brantly worked performed humanitarian work while still in medical school, working with impoverished, inner-city residents.

July 22, 2014

Court Ruling On Health Coverage Could Affect Illinois, Indiana

Questions remain after Tuesday's contradictory rulings by two federal appeals courts over health insurance subsidies in three dozen states - including Illinois and Indiana.

One court said the federal government cannot offer the subsidies to people in states that use the federally-run insurance marketplace instead of their own, while another court said they could.

About 168,000 Illinois residents qualified for financial subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. According to the White House, policyholders will keep getting that help as the administration sorts out the legal implications.

Get Covered Illinois executive director Jennifer Koehler said the subsidies remain in effect. She said the state is monitoring the court decisions.

Speaking on Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he stands by his decision not to run a state-based exchange

“A number of states across the country that set up their exchanges have abandoned them or begun to unwind them, so I think we made the right decision in that regard,” Pence said.

Pence said he has not read the court opinions and doesn’t want to comment on what the state might do if its citizens are left without the subsidies.

Indiana University professor William Popkin said invalidating the subsidies would have an enormous impact on Indiana’s low-income population, who would no longer be required to purchase health insurance under the law.

“Without the credit, it will be so expensive, given their income level, that they will not be faced with a penalty and the price of the insurance may dissuade them, discourage them from actually buying it,” Popkin said.

Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to take up the case, and until then the Obama administration said it will continue to provide the federal assistance.

July 07, 2014

New Proposal To Legalize Consumer Fireworks In Illinois

The 4th of July may have been punctuated by some fireworks set off in neighborhoods by residents who brought them in from a neighboring state. State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) says Illinoisans should be able to buy those fireworks in their own state.

Rose said he saw a lot of fireworks for sale on recent trips to Kentucky, Wisconsin and Tennessee --- and saw a lot of Illinoisans crossing the state line to buy them. He said Illinois’ ban on most consumer fireworks sales is bad for the state’s economy.

"We're driving people across state lines," said Rose of Illinois' ban on consumer fireworks. "And guess what? It’s not just for fireworks. Because while they’re there, they’re going to buy a tank of gas. Oops, more sales tax for Indiana. They’re going to buy a dinner. Oops, more sales tax for Indiana. So why don’t we start by bringing some of those dollars back to Illinois?"

Rose said he is working on a bill for the spring session with House Deputy Majority Leader Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) that would legalize consumer fireworks. The sales tax revenue they produce would be channeled to rural service agencies, such as ambulance and fire districts and the University of Illinois Extension.

Currently, Iowa is the only neighboring state that shares illinois. ban on most consumer fireworks sales.

July 02, 2014

Indiana GM Plant Chemical Blast Kills 1, Injures 5

Authorities say a chemical explosion at a General Motors metal-stamping plant in Indiana has left one person dead and five others injured.

Marion Deputy Police Chief Cliff Sessoms says the blast killed 48-year-oldJames L. Gibson, a GM contractor.
A Marion General Hospital spokeswoman says five other people have non-life threatening injuries.
GM spokeswoman Stephanie Jentgen says "the situation is contained'' and "everybody has been evacuated'' from the plant in Marion, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Assistant Fire Chief Greg Yeakle tells the Marion Chronicle-Tribune that chlorine dioxide was involved in the explosion.
GM spokesman Bill Grotz says an investigation is underway.
The plant employs about 1,600 workers. It provides blanks, stampings and sheet metal assembly for vehicles to GM assembly plants across North America.

June 30, 2014

Motion Filed To Protect Indiana's 1st Gay Marriage

A national gay rights group has filed an emergency motion in court seeking to protect the first same-sex marriage recognized in Indiana.

Lawyers from Lambda Legal filed the measure Monday morning in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago seeking continued recognition of the marriage between Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. 

The lawyers argue the continued recognition is needed because Quasney is fighting advanced ovarian cancer.

The filing comes three days after the federal appeals court placed a hold on same-sex marriages in Indiana. 

Federal Judge Richard Young struck down the state's ban on gay marriage last week, allowing such marriages, but Attorney General Greg Zoeller immediately appealed the ruling.

Hundreds of same-sex marriages were conducted around the state last week after Young's ruling. 

same-sex marriage ceremony
June 25, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Indiana Ban On Gay Marriage

Same-sex couples in Indiana are rushing to exchange vows following Wednesday’s historic ruling overturning the state's ban.

After being on the books for decades, a federal judge on Wednesday struck down Indiana's law banning same-sex marriage.

As soon as Karen Bevil heard the news, she and her partner of 10 years, Kim, wasted no time. The couple from Hammond, Ind. – just outside Chicago -- drove as fast as they could to get to the Lake County, Indiana clerk's office in Crown Point – about 25 miles away -- to apply for her marriage license.

"We've been waiting for this years, for 10 years now, and for it to be legal and be here on the first day when the judge said it was legal, was of  huge importance for us," Bevil said.

Mike Brown is the clerk in Lake County, Ind., just outside Chicago. He said helping couples get married had added significance.

"It’s an honor because for me I’m the first African-American clerk in a 173 years in Lake County history and the ability to vote, to have fair housing, to go to where you want to and then to have the ability for a couple to come in and clarify their relationship is very important," Brown said.

Meanwhile, Indiana's attorney general has filed for an emergency stay to keep the marriage licenses from being issued. So far, no ruling has been made.

June 24, 2014

Tornado Damages 3 Homes Near Indianapolis

Authorities say a tornado near Indianapolis has damaged at least three homes. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ran says the tornado struck Tuesday afternoon just southwest of Indianapolis but was no longer on the ground.

He says the Hendricks County Emergency Management Agency reported that at least three homes sustained extensive damage.
Ryan says the storm that produced the tornado was headed toward the town of Speedway west of downtown Indianapolis.

He says the storm should be considered extremely dangerous because it was headed into a congested metropolitan area.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller speak during a news conference at the Statehouse Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.
(Darron Cummings/AP)
June 19, 2014

Indiana Argues Right To Pick Licenses To Recognize

The Indiana attorney general contends in a brief filed in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that states have the right to decide which out-of-state licenses they choose to recognize, including marriage licenses.

The filing Wednesday by Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office is in response to U.S. District Judge Richard Young's ruling last month ordering Indiana to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney of Munster. The same sex-couple were married last year in Massachusetts.

Young's ruling applies only to Sandler and Quasney, who is terminally ill. 

Indiana attorney general's office spokesman Bryan Corbin said in a news release Thursday there is no federal due process right to have a license issued in one state treated as valid by government and courts in another.

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